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Item Name: Painting
Title: Untitled
Maker: Robert Newton Hurley
Year: 1944
Country: Canadian
Materials: watercolour on paper
Measurements: overall: 22 cm x 33 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.25

Extended Label Info: During the 1930s depression years, Robert Newton Hurley began to draw, using humble materials such as beet and berry juices, local clays and a toothbrush. Although he started using more refined materials such as watercolours, his early explorations allowed him to develop a composed sense of colour, space and light in his paintings. Hurley focused primarily on prairie landscapes, with grain elevators, receding roads and telephone poles as common subject matter. His dreamy use of color and stylized objects became his trademark and is very evident in Untitled where the sky has a dramatic glow and the landscape is striking yet uncluttered. Hurley’s approach to prairie landscape paintings reinforces a quiet, yet powerful sensibility to this genre and speaks to the affinity he held for land and nature. Robert Newton Hurley (1894-1980) was born in London, England. He trained as an apprentice printer-compositor until his mid-20s. During and after WWI he served in the Suffolk Regiment (1917-1920), then immigrated to Canada in 1923 before he settled in Saskatoon in 1930. Unemployed at the age of forty during the depression, Hurley began to paint with berry juices and a toothbrush. From 1933-35 he took night classes from established artist Ernest Lindner and quickly became well known in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada for his treatment of the prairie landscape. He first exhibited in a 1935 exhibition in Winnipeg with the Manitoba Society of Artists. Hurley focused primarily on prairie landscapes and paid particular attention to subjects such as grain elevators, receding roads, and telephone poles. Hurley received an honorary degree from the University of Regina. He remained in Saskatchewan until retiring to Victoria, British Columbia in 1963.